Crime is up, and President Joe Biden’s administration would like you to believe they’re supporting local law enforcement in dealing with the surge.
In one brutal six-minute clip from Attorney General Merrick Garland’s testimony before the Senate Appropriations Committee on Tuesday, however, GOP Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana dismantled the administration’s top law enforcement official over how serious it was about supporting cops in cities which have borne the brunt of the recent crime wave.
(Here at The Western Journal, we’ve documented how liberal criminal justice reform policies, including defunding the police and eliminating bail, have led to unprecedented spikes in crime. We’ll keep bringing America the truth about how the left is failing its most vulnerable constituents. You can help us by subscribing.)
According to the Daily Caller, the Department of Justice is asking for $37.65 billion in funding for Fiscal Year 2023. That’s a $2.63 billion increase.
However, Kennedy didn’t think that money was going to the right places, particularly given the circumstances.
“I think the Justice Department is losing. I think you’re losing on crime,” Kennedy began.
“I think you’re losing on drugs. I think you’re losing on immigration. I think you’re losing on Chinese espionage.”
On crime, Kennedy began by asking Garland what percentage of law enforcement officers he thought were “bad cops” or “racist.” He also asked what percentage of cops didn’t follow the Constitution. In all cases, Garland said the number was very small.
All right, then: “Why doesn’t the Justice Department support stop, question and frisk?” Kennedy asked. Garland said he wasn’t aware of a Justice Department position, so Kennedy restated: “Why doesn’t the Justice Department aggressively encourage law enforcement officials to use that technique?”
“Let’s take Chicago, where we haven’t made any inroads in stopping the killing,” Kennedy said. The city has already seen 169 murders in 2022 and almost 800 in 2021, which was the highest number since 1996.
“Chicago is now the world’s largest outdoor shooting range. We know that a lot of the shootings come from gangs,” Kennedy said.
“Why wouldn’t you want to call the police chief and the mayor in Chicago and say, ‘Look, you know who these gang members are. When you have reasonable suspicion under Terry v. Ohio, an objective standard, more than just a hunch, why don’t you aggressively stop, question and frisk these gang members?’”
Garland deflected: “The best way for the federal government to stop violent crime is to work at each local level and determine, and let the state and locals determine, what the best use of their own resources is.”
“I’m sorry to interrupt, but I’m trying to get some answers,” Kennedy said. “Why won’t you do that? Just tell me why you won’t do that. Your opinion matters.”
“Because there is no one-solution-fits-all that the federal government can suggest to state and local law enforcement,” Garland responded. “We believe state and local law enforcement knows best as to what to do there. We provide our technical expertise. We put lots of resources into joint task forces.”
And that’s where Kennedy pounced, as they like to say.
“You are asking in the middle of raging inflation for 7 percent more money, $2.63 billion, to provide technical increase, technical advice?” Kennedy said
“I mean, we’re going backwards here on crime, General. You are the country’s chief law enforcement officer, and you won’t even answer my question about how you feel about stop, question and frisk?”
Kennedy has gained a reputation in the Senate as a kind of stock character out of a Hollywood courtroom drama: the country lawyer who’s brilliant at leading a witness down the primrose path to their own humiliation.
The answer is obvious: Stop, question and frisk is highly effective. It’s also highly radioactive in leftist circles since it’s assumed the practice will be applied in a racist manner. The issue practically destroyed Michael Bloomberg’s 2020 Democratic presidential campaign before it began because of his endorsement of stop-and-frisk during his time as New York City mayor. Coming out and endorsing it would be suicide for anyone in the Biden administration, much less Attorney General Garland.
And yet, Kennedy prefaced this by making sure everyone knew Garland didn’t think cops were “bad” or “racist” and that they followed the Constitution. Thus, if they weren’t targeting people by race and respecting their constitutional rights, stop-and-frisk should be something the Department of Justice is encouraging in cities like Chicago, right?
Of course, Garland can’t use the argot of the defund crowd, which the Biden administration has figured out is a toxin at the ballot box. (Thus we had the spectacle of the president yelling, “Fund the police! Fund the police!” during the State of the Union, almost as if he meant it.) But he also can’t bring himself to endorse effective policies that would cause the party’s base to eat them alive.
The solution? “We put lots of resources into joint task forces,” Garland said.
This administration can “fund the police” all it wants — but if it throws the money at the feckless, jargon-heavy pseudo-solutions Garland was defending on Tuesday, we’ll still have the same lawlessness and a bigger pile of debt to go with it.
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